Analysis exposes a new movement focused on the evolution of white supremacists’ hatred: report

Analysis exposes a new movement focused on the evolution of white supremacists’ hatred: report
Charlottesville "Unite the Right" Rally. Far-right Oath Keepers patrol Emancipation Park. Credit: Anthony Crider

A new analysis is raising awareness about white supremacists' nationwide movement dedicated to destroying symbols of Black Lives Matter.

According to HuffPost investigative reporters Christopher Mathias and Ali Winston, the latest movement, dubbed Patriot Front, is reportedly an extension of the far-right organization known as Vanguard America. It is being described as "a variant that evolved from America’s burgeoning pandemic of Trump-era hate groups and cross-pollinated with far-right strains originating in Europe."

A more comprehensive look at the group's purpose is detailed in a manifesto written by the movement's founder, Thomas Rousseau, a native of Dallas, Texas who, as a teenager, began identifying as a white nationalist.

In the Patriot Front manifesto, the founding white nationalist denounced immigration policies, diversity, and the decline in wealth among White Americans as he insisted that the group hopes to “hard reset on the nation we see today — a return to the traditions and virtues of our forefathers.”

While the manifesto makes the movement's intent quite clear, HuffPost dives a bit deeper, explaining the disturbing work they've done to bring their goals to fruition. Vandalism and fear-mongering are common in the work they do.

"A new HuffPost tally finds Patriot Front targeting statues and murals memorializing Black Americans killed by police, or other anti-racist or Black Lives Matter symbols, at an alarming rate since the nationwide racial justice protests of summer 2020 — acts designed to strike fear into the heart of communities," they wrote. "Rousseau, according to leaked audio from Patriot Front meetings, has directly coordinated this campaign of racial terror. But he has thus far evaded significant criminal charges or other repercussions."

According to Rousseau, they also have high regard for secrecy. One example of how they've mastered the art of hiding in plain sight is explained in the Patriot Front “Information Security” document reviewed by HuffPost.

“Understand that your license plate can be linked to your name and other information by law enforcement or other determined individuals,” the document reads. “Use rental vehicles in circumstances where it is not feasible to hide the license plate during an action.”

Across the country, members of the movement have been making bold statements by way of vandalism. In several states, Black Lives Matter monuments, statues, and other commemorative pieces have been vandalized.

"For Patriot Front, the vandalism accomplishes two goals: It spreads a hateful message, and it spreads the group’s name," the reporters wrote. "It’s not only a hate crime, but a calculated bit of advertising; a crude and cruel hacking of the attention economy."

Legal experts have also weighed in on the organization's tactics and their methods of retaliation. Jeanine Bell, an Indiana University law professor with more than two decades of experience studying hate crimes, explained why vandalism may be their crime of choice.

“Vandalism is in some ways a perfect crime for bias-motivated attacks,” Bell explained. “It’s a low-level crime and law enforcement isn’t paying lots of attention to it, but it’s incredibly damaging to individuals.”

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